Randoms of the day

There’s pretty much nothing else you could be doing that would be more interesting than listening to Charles Murray.

On minorities.

Women’s sports are gay.

People with high IQs.

Slut march: bask in the warm glow of sexual freedom.


9 Responses to Randoms of the day

  1. dearieme says:

    What’s all this stuff about “..believed to have an IQ of…”? Either someone has had an IQ test – or preferably more than one – and the result has been published, or not. Anyway, I’m doubtful about the value of any reported IQ that’s very much higher than the IQs of the psychologists who set the test.

    IQ is an odd bugger – the rules of PC say that it’s meaningless; its proponents say that it explains almost everything; I say that it’s a potentially useful tool for various humdrum purposes, but is probably pretty useless for trying to distinguish between various very clever people. Why, I wonder, would anyone sane want to distinguish between very clever people with a pencil and paper test? To what end?

    • Handle says:

      The main reason is that “useful tool” reason you already gave. Almost every occupation has a certain range of IQ (or various other mental skills), below which one can be accurately predicted not to succeed no matter how hard they try. This is how the military, for example, assigns initial roles based on the AFQT.

      If you are testing for, say, a mechanic, and the visual-spacial / mechanical-aptitude score in below the 35th percentile in the population – you have plenty of data that tell you that despite all past training efforts with thousands of people in that category, nothing really helps them become adequate mechanics.

      So, that distinguishing not-clever from clever. But now you really want at least a score of 60 or higher for someone to have the potential to become a leader and trainer of other mechanics. That’s distinguishing semi-clever from more-clever.

      But then you move on to jobs like Attack Helicopter Pilot (or jet-fighter pilot) and your cutoff scores need to be somewhere in the 90’s. In fact, there is intense competition for these scarce jobs, and the military wants the best and fastest brains it can get because of the whole “OODA loop” process.

      So now you are distinguishing between 98’s and 99’s, that is, between very-clever people and extremely-clever people, which results in a real performance advantage because it’s all about having a marginal edge over your opponent.

      And the same is basically true if your selecting Surgeons or Specialist Attorneys from among candidates.

      And the main point is that these kinds of tests turn our to be all heavily g-loaded and highly correlated with IQ and other mental faculties. So your best Pilots and Surgeons and Lawyers and Senior Officers also tend to have great math, science, and vocabulary skills, though in slightly different mixes of relative strength and affinity (Most Lawyers are capable of advanced math, but never liked it).

      At the completely other end of the spectrum, an IQ of, say, 70 (about the 2nd or 3rd percentile I think), is used as the legal basis for determining “enough mental retardation” to excuse an individual from the level of culpability required to warrant capital punishment. You can’t execute the profoundly dim, but just a percentile or two more, and you can> execute the merely extremely dim. A lot of capital appeals actually hinge on that fine difference, with proof of retardation being the critical fact in contest.

      So, IQ tests are indeed useful to distinguish between people at almost any level of intelligence depending on the context. And the interesting thing to notice about these various discriminations are that they are built into our legal and governmental structure (which employs and needs to distinguish between lots of very smart people), not necessarily in some grand coherent framework, but in bits and pieces here and there.

      The way the cognitive dissonance is accomplished is basically a conflation of talent with merit (good character, work-ethic, government schooling, etc.), on the high side, and the same confusion of failure with victim-hood, on the low side. At some point, perhaps, the evidence of the overwhelming genetic heritability of “merit and victim-hood” will conquer these notions, but I have a lot of faith in our official clever dissemblers to create new seductive lies to obscure the reality.

    • RS says:

      That 154 makes you #18 in the world shows that the list can’t be taken seriously at all, but there are other things that show that.

      But, that Sharon Stone has that much is pretty credible. It’s not so rare at all. I’ve many any number of people sporting that, though its more common in men.

      If that’s what she tested at, yes I’m pretty sure Andrew Wiles can legitimately be called smarter. I agree that above there it gets to be more of a gray area. But if someone appeared to smack Wiles by 2 SD, I’d be pretty sure he’s a little smarter at least, only not necessarily by all that much.

  2. derp derperson says:

    To be fair, the squeaky-voiced gentleman at 1:30 in the slut march video makes some good points.

  3. G.L. Piggy says:


    Thanks for linking to the Charles Murray lecture. One of the most interesting social science discussions I’ve ever watched.

    On the flip side, I am about 20 days from fitting into Murray’s “emerging new lower class” subset. But I take that with a grain of salt; I guess I am a subset of that subset in that a miniscule percentage of that emerging lower class is watching Charles Murray on CSPAN-2.

  4. My wife and I watched the whole Murray lecture. The lecture itself was excellent; the followup questions were so-so.

  5. Handle says:

    I think Murray’s lecture makes an interesting case for “The Full Moldbug” Reactionary Argument.

    One of the points he made that was highlighted by Derb was that:

    At 34m10s: The older you are in this room, the more likely it is statistically that your parents did not have college educations, and that you grew up in a working-class or lower-middle-class home yourself … The younger you are in this room, the more likely it is that your parents were in the upper-middle class, were college-educated, and that you have spent your entire life living in an upper-middle class environment.

    This is very true, and people with a few generations of roots in the Midwest (and perhaps American rural communities in general) like Murray know this well. Until two or three generations ago (especially before the end of WWII) and except for a much thinner layer of “higher-educated professional men”, the cognitive variance amongst farmers, laborers, or small tradesmen and retailers was quite large, and it was just as common to find people in almost any of these jobs with an IQ of 130 as 70.

    And this high-variance was perpetuated because “education-associative marriage” (which passively, through critical-youth-period timed proximity, tends to encourage like-IQ people to breed) had not yet become the predominant mate-pairing form. Highly successful men would often choose their spouse on non-intelligence related criteria, and there were plenty of marriages with large cognitive differentials among spouses. Today I think that’s fairly rare, especially in the upper ranges of IQ.

    Also, this was prior to the full operation of the “cognitive-concentrator cities” effect, where a few major towns, the centers of money, power, education, and innovation, pulled in the smartest folks from across the country and brain-drained the nation. (And also made them more politically uniform, see, e.g. Bill Bishop’s “The Big Sort”)

    At any rate, this made past society much more effectively egalitarian as a practical matter. Any community, class, or profession could find local representative members who were clever and natural leaders but not necessarily having any greater fortune or rank in society. Class and IQ were less closely correlated.

    But the operation of associate breeding, and geographic concentration, has changed all this. Now Murray shows us that we are settling into “Rigid Castes”, with IQ (and associated competitiveness for positions, jobs, and social-roles) being propagated to one’s offspring through increasingly-strong heritability.

    Is there anything we can or ought to do about this? No. Is the governmental power-structure of our society well designed to manage a rigid-caste-like social stratification like this? No. The original Constitution was slightly more hierarchical and indirectly Republican (electors for Pres., Legislatures selecting Senators, etc.), but over time it becase more, not less, egalitarian in the Progressive and Populist eras.

    But we are nearly done transforming from a plausibly-egalitarian society to a hierarchical one. What is the Orthodoxy’s perpetual answer to “changes societal circumstance”? “A Living Constitution” to make a better fit with the new reality, or some such?

    But here is the core of the Neoreactionary argument, is it not? Society is, once again, becoming spontaneously hierarchical and set into rigid castes on, apparently, a genetic (and therefore intractable) basis. We need a form of social organization that is well-designed and adapted to managing this particular scenario? So, what design would that be?

    Well, History is full of these, isn’t it? Probably the only remnant of a consciously caste-managing modern institution we have, which has inherited and evolved these forms from ancient times, is the military. But that’s only one model, there are plenty of variations on the theme.

    This, it seems to me, provides a different kind of empirical argument. Moldbug’s argument is more or less timeless in its abstraction. But Murray’s data and analysis give a certain kind of novel urgency to the matter. Big changes are coming on way or another, and the movement will need leaders. Be Ready.

  6. […] the comments, Handle has some more thoughts on Charles Murray’s lecture, which he believes make "an […]

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